How can I stop a horse in a parelli bridle trying to eat grass

Ruftysdad

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 October 2012
Messages
289
Location
Cheshire
My horse is injured at the moment and my friend has said that I can ride her horse. I had a quick try on him the other day and although generally great to ride he took every opportunity to put his head down to eat grass. He does it even at a trot and I have seen him do it at a canter. Although I have been riding for years I found it very difficult to stop this, and once his head was down it took tremendous effort to get it back up. The owner does not ride with a crop, although on occasions has used mine.

I can understand why he is like this as he has had lami, and got Cushings. He is only 10 and for years has been on limited grazing.

I would like some ideas on how to stop this, apart from riding on roads
 

Landcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 May 2011
Messages
2,141
Location
Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Scoot him on if he so much as thinks about it. If he gets a mouthful, trot on if it's safe, really make him work. Mine used to do this (scarey when a head suddenly drops at canter and reappears somewhere around the back end with a gob full of vegetation)! Mine did go through a stage of trotting himself on if he grabbed a mouthful, bless him, but he's massively improved now.
 

Sukistokes2

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 April 2011
Messages
4,240
Location
I live in Kent
Move him forward quickly if he tries to put his head down, However if he does get it down sneaky like, do not try and pull his head up, it would be a loosing battle, instead put your hand behind the saddle and tap/pat you horse's back with your hand, not hard or anything, just like a pat. This will get his head up and then you can kick on.
 

Cahill

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 March 2007
Messages
5,254
parelli bridle?? i think you should you be riding with a carrot stick. (v sorry-couldn`t resist lol)
 

Cahill

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 March 2007
Messages
5,254
does the owner choose not to use a normal bridle or is there another reason why he does not wear one?

it does sound like he does it because he can.
 

D66

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 June 2010
Messages
8,203
Location
down a hole
When pulling his head up pull on one rein only, it's much harder for him to resist. To to preempt his evasion kick on hard if he even so much as looks at grass!
 

Cortez

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 January 2009
Messages
12,396
Location
Ireland
First, take OFF the Parelli halter thingy and put on a proper bridle so that you can actually control the horse.........
 

Landcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 May 2011
Messages
2,141
Location
Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Speaking as a rider who prefers bitless and never carries a crop - this horse isn't listening to you if you can't get the head back up. I don't think bitless gives you less control, IF the horse is schooled and listening. As well as scooting on (as I suggested earlier), try keeping him very busy, get him moving on laterals, changes of pace and direction, ease off when he relaxes and stops pulling for grass, foot back on the pedal if he pulls down.

Is a parelli bridle just a rope halter with the reins off the bottom knot? Would the owner let you switch to another type of bitless as you are not "parelli trained" yourself? Like a Dr Cook, or even an english hackamore?
 

3OldPonies

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 March 2013
Messages
1,599
Location
Berkshire
If it's a sort of halter type thingy what about a single grass rein from the headpiece splitting into two and attached to the D's of the saddle? Of course this could catapault you over his head though if he's really determined!!!!!!!
 

twiggy2

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 July 2013
Messages
10,198
Location
Highlands from Essex
OP does the owner allow him to do this? some people are happy to allow the horse to eat when ridden as they see it as a stress release, if the owner allows it then you really are fighting a losing battle, if they don't ask them how they deal with it.
 

Fun Times

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 January 2014
Messages
1,301
OP does the owner allow him to do this? some people are happy to allow the horse to eat when ridden as they see it as a stress release, if the owner allows it then you really are fighting a losing battle, if they don't ask them how they deal with it.
They see it as a stress release?? Crikey, my old pony must have been a real stress head then coz he clearly reckoned he had a lot of stress to release.
 

NZJenny

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 August 2013
Messages
1,793
It dosn't really matter what the horse is ridden in, it is about manners and training more than anything else.

My mare cured herself the day she trod on her tongue - however, as plenty have said, one rein and give him a kick.
 

Archie73

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 March 2009
Messages
384
Location
Kent
They see it as a stress release?? Crikey, my old pony must have been a real stress head then coz he clearly reckoned he had a lot of stress to release.
Can't stop laughing. Sorry no help.

Keep him moving or ride in a school until you have a better relationship and understanding of you can't change bridle, other option is person on the ground to lead and use pressure from what sounds like a halter so ther would be in the right place to apply it.
Best luck
 
Last edited:

Skib

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 March 2011
Messages
1,275
Location
London
I was taught how to deal with this on a sort of Natural Horsemanship basis but cant tell if it will work for you and am not sure about the Parelli bridle. For reasons I wont go into here I allowed my elderly share to develop the habit of eating under saddle, including in canter. Having the reins short gave me little advantage as her neck was stronger than my seat and the grip of my fingers. Pulling her up with one hand was not wonderful as it tended to move the bit through her mouth and I was about to try another bit when the trainer Mark Rashid gave a clinic during which he discussed head position, the mouth of the horse and the focus of the eye.
In the UK we are taught to use the rein to provide contact and dictate the frame of the horse, so length of rein is rather vital. Mark suggested instead that the rein connects the most sensitive part of the horse to the most sensitive part of the human. If you wait till the horse softens and relaxes after mounting, your fingers become conscious via the rein of even the tiniest shift in the glance of the horse's eye. And the horse becomes conscious of the smallest pressure of one finger or another on the rein.
Mark predicted that with this line of communication, I wouldnt need a new bit. And it was true that walking with a constant, delicate feel through my fingers, I could sense if the horse's glance wandered to the verge and a tiny touch on the opposite rein would then bring the head (and eyes) central again. The first time I rode out like that the horse got one brief mouthful of grass during the whole hack and after that I had no more trouble. If you are riding with a rope in your hands -as some Parelli riders seem to, I think that the tiny alterations of the horse's head would be harder to feel. But then I have small hands and had a fine leather rein. I suspect a Parelli rider would find they could get the same feel via a rope.
I am not sure why it worked for me, but I think it is a question of what one is using one's hands to feel. If one is controlling or allowing forward or backward movement, or thinking of the height of the head, one may be riding without being conscious of the angle of the horse's head as it walks and its field of vision. The horse just walks and you just sit on its back with your mind on the stride under your seat. But when you start feeling more through your fingers, it seems to be reciprocal the horse feels too. A touch of your finger will prompt the horse to adjust it head.
I cannot explain why this works -I am too old to tug and pull up a horse that has its mouth already on food. But the rein as a line of sensitive communications seems to work. I am hacking a beginner's pony at the moment who has the idea that if she can pull a longer and longer rein she will get the chance to snatch food. I showed her that, even with the rein at the buckle, my adult fingers were feeling her lips and through her lips, her eyes and I could issue tiny instructions.
 

laura_nash

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 July 2008
Messages
2,357
Location
Ireland
Move him forward quickly if he tries to put his head down, However if he does get it down sneaky like, do not try and pull his head up, it would be a loosing battle, instead put your hand behind the saddle and tap/pat you horse's back with your hand, not hard or anything, just like a pat. This will get his head up and then you can kick on.
This ^^

Mine was terrible for trying to eat when I got him, and I couldn't get his head back up by force even with a traditional bridle - plus I didn't much like hauling on his mouth. You need to find something else that gets the head back up, in my case a noise worked (plastic bag) but I can imagine tapping behind the saddle would also work. Obviously its better in the longer term if you can avoid him doing it in the first place by putting him to work as soon as he thinks about it (e.g. transitions, rein back, lateral work etc.).
 
Top